I am no longer receiving payment for a car and insurance through a verbal agreement made

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I am no longer receiving payment for a car and insurance through a verbal agreement made

I entered into a verbal agreement with my stepson’s father and mother to finance a car and get insurance for him. They both agreed to split the payment of both after I finance the car. Now the father is backing out of his end because he is fighting with his son. Do I have any recourse with him because he verbally agreed to pay his half and I have copies of all his checks for the car payment and insurance since we started with the car?

Asked on February 20, 2018 under Business Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You can try suing him for "breach of contract" for violating the oral ("oral," not "verbal," is the correct term) agreement that he would pay part of the cost(s). As a general matter, oral contracts are enforceable, though clearly, if the other side disagrees with what you assert, it is more difficult to prove the existence and terms of an oral agreement than a written one.
However, there is a potential problem for you: while most oral agreements are enforceable, some are not--some agreements *must* be in writing under what is called the "statute of frauds." Under your state's law, at Fla. Stat. '725.01  , an agreement to "answer for" or pay another's debts or obligations must be in writing. If the financing and insurance are in your name, they are your debt; it is possible that his agreement to pay part or all of your debt had to have been in writing to be enforceable, based don the statute of frauds. If a court concluded this, you would be unable to enforce his agreement to pay and he could simply ignore his word and obligations.
So you can try suing him for breaching his agreement, but be advised there is a chance that a court will decline to enforce an agreement like this because it is not in writing.


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